KACANIK, Kosovo — The self-proclaimed commander of ethnic Albanians fighting as part of the extremist group Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq has been killed in the Middle East, the leader of the Muslim community in his hometown of Kacanik said.
Florim Neziraj told RFE/RL on June 8 that Lavdrim Muhaxheri’s brother had informed him of Muhaxheri’s death earlier in the day. He said family members told him that Muhaxheri was killed by an air strike in Syria and asked him to notify the Islamic community of his death.
Muhaxheri, an IS member who has declared himself as the “commander of Albanians in Syria and Iraq,” is notorious in Kosovo for a video posted on the Internet in 2014 showing him beheading a man in Iraq.
Another video showed him killing a person with a rocket-propelled grenade.
In November, authorities in Kosovo said they had arrested 19 people on suspicion of having links to IS militants and planning to carry out terrorist attacks. Police said the suspects had received attack orders from Muhaxheri.
His death was announced over mosque speakers in Kacanik, in line with tradition when someone from the community dies.
This decision sparked criticism in Kosovo.
“We are serving every citizen and the mosque belongs to everyone,” Neziraj said.